Heads of Taghoot (Taghut) – What are the “Heads of Taghut” – According to the understanding of Salaf
According to the scholars of Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah, the Taghoot is defined as anything which is worshiped, obeyed, submitted to, or followed instead of Allah whilst consenting to it.
[Ibn Taymiyah, Fatwa 28/200; I’lām ul Muwaqqi’īn Pg. 50 by Ibn al-Qayyim and Kitab at Tawhid by Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab for the definition of Taghut]
This may include Shaytan, idols, stones, sun, stars, angels, or even human beings. Likewise saints, graves, rulers and leaders, other ruling systems besides Islam may also be falsely worshiped and made into Taghut. The Taghut are many, however, the following are the heads of Taghut:
1. The Shaytan (Satan):
He is the head of the Tāghūt and the one who calls to the obedience, worshiping or following of others besides Allāh. The evidence for this is the saying of Allah:
أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
“Did I not ordain for you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan (Satan). Verily, he is a plain enemy to you.” [Qur’an, Surah 36: 60]
2. The leader/judge who introduces a law which contradicts the just Shariah (Law) of Allah:
Just to introduce a single law in contradiction to the Law of Allāh is enough to make such an individual a Tāghūt (false lord). This is because; Tashri (legislating) is a Unique Attribute of Allah. Hence, this individual is a false lord like Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and guilty of a major form of shirk as he has set himself as a partner to Allah. The evidence for this is:
أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ شَرَعُوا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَن بِهِ اللَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةُ الْفَصْلِ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
“Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have permitted for them a deen (law, way of life or religion) which Allah has not allowed.” [Qur’an, Surah; 42: 21]
3. The leader/judge who rules/judges with laws contradictory to the just Shariah of Allah:
This individual becomes a Taghoot (false lord) because ruling/ judging is another Unique Attribute of Allah.
مَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا
“…and He makes none to share in His Decision and His Rule.” [Qur’an, Surah; 18: 26]
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
“Have you seen those (hypocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgment (in their disputes) to the Taghoot while they have been ordered to reject them. But Shaytān (Satan) wishes to lead them far astray. ” [Qur’an, Surah; 4: 60]
4. The one who claims to have knowledge of the Unseen:
That is, the one who claims to have knowledge of the unseen or propagates the knowledge of the unseen from other than what Allah has relayed to us from the Qur’an and the Sunnah is a Taghut. This is because, none knows the unseen except Allah and He has relayed as much as He wishes to us through His Prophets.
عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا
إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا
“(He Alone) the All-Knower of the Ghā’ib (unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghā’ib (unseen). Except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (He informs him of unseen as much as He likes)” [Qur’an, Surah 72: 26 – 27]
5. The one who is content to be worshiped:
That is, the one who is content to have any act of worship (i.e. supplication, prostration, bowing etc) directed to himself instead of Allah is a Taghoot (false god). This is because; worship is for Allah alone.
وَمَن يَقُلْ مِنْهُمْ إِنِّي إِلَٰهٌ مِّن دُونِهِ فَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِيهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الظَّالِمِينَ
“And if any of them should say: ‘Verily, I am a god besides Him,’ such We should recompense with Hell. Thus We recompense the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an, Surah 21: 29]
Please note: Prophets, Angels, Righteous servants of Allah etc are taken as false gods besides Allah, however, they cannot be considered as a Taghoot, because they didn’t command people to worship them nor would they accept for people to worship them besides Allah.
And Allah knows best.
[Source: Compiled from the “Book of Iman” by Sheikh al Islam ibn- Taymiyyah (rh) & other scholars of Salaf ]